Friday, January 21, 2011

Fit Mommy Friday 2011 - Week 3

I feel good about my fitness this week. Here is my report:

Friday - 45 min. Wii

Saturday - 30 min Wii, 15 min. kettle bell exercises

Sunday - 1 hr. Wii

Monday - 15 min Wii

Tuesday - 1 hr with personal trainer plus 2 mile walk

Wednesday - recovery day!

Thursday - 2 mile walk

I mentioned last week that I would be working on setting goals to reach. I did spend a lot of this week focusing on goals in several areas of my life. My current fitness goals are:

  1. Continue 4 days per week of exercise, gradually increasing the intensity of my home exercise time. Right now I am using Wii Fit Plus to exercise at home. I do a combination of 'bike riding', jogging in place, and strength exercises. I added a short session with a kettle bell this week. I really enjoy the variety available on Wii Fit Plus, but I am considering some other exercise related Wii games and am also trying to use weights on my own to exercise.
  2. Increase my water intake. I have a hard time drinking water in the winter, much preferring hot drinks like coffee or honey sweetened herbal tea. I'm noticing though that I have more energy and immunity if I am well hydrated.
  3. Eat more raw vegetables. This can be difficult in the winter too, but we will be beginning our garden in the next couple of weeks and I will be able to harvest lettuce and peas by late February or early March. In the meantime I will live with whatever looks relatively fresh at the grocery store.

We have a busy week ahead and I will have to really work to get my exercise in!

Check in with the other Fit Mommies at Got Chai.



TOS Review: Speekee TV

Speekee logo

Speekee TV is a Spanish Language Immersion program for children ages 2-10. I received access to ten online episodes to review with my family. Speekee TV is filmed entirely in Spanish, with native speakers as the actors. Each episode centers around one topic: La Playa (the beach), El Zoo, etc.; and covers many words related to the topic. They are live action episodes, starring Speekee (a puppet), Dino and Lupi (sock puppets), Jim (an adult) and various children and are approximately 15-20 minutes each.

Speekee, Dino, and Lupi

Speekee has received mixed reviews in our home. Since FRitW and MT are within the target age range, I will share their thoughts.

FRitW: "I do not like Speekee at all." That is his direct quote - however, he always ends up watching when I turn it on and has asked to watch it twice. He likes that he can choose an episode and not just watch them in order. His favorite episode is La Estacion. He has not learned to speak any new Spanish words at this point, but he is understanding some words. I asked him what "pantalones" are and he knew!

MT: "I love Speekee!" He could and has watched Speekee over and over. He loves to watch the episodes 2-3 times in a row. He hasn't learned any new Spanish words either and doesn't seem to have an understanding of any new words either. He says his favorite part of Speekee is the Adios song, but he doesn't understand that 'adios' means good-bye even though we have discussed it.

My thoughts: I think this program is very effective. We only have received free access for a short time and during the Christmas holiday time we only watched it sporadically. The kids also wanted to watch all of the episodes, which I thought was best since we are reviewing the product. If we subscribe (which we are seriously considering once our access ends) we would have time to watch all of the episodes multiple times. I think the repetition of each episode could not fail to teach children Spanish words.

I really loved the links to worksheets and the activity suggestions to correspond to each episode. Each episode has a page for drawing a picture of the topic (La Playa, El Parque - the park, and others) and several other worksheets. We did not use many of these yet, because we watched a different episode each day. In my next couple of weeks of free access I plan to focus on one episode a week. We are going to make sock puppets (activity suggestion from the website) and play dress up - identifying our clothing by its Spanish name (from the La Casa episode).

SpeekeeI also like that it is completely in Spanish. I get very annoyed by television characters that speak in Spanish and then translate themselves: "Lo no se, I don't know" "Here are my pantalones, my pants." This really bugs me, because no one actually speaks, communicates, talks outloud, that way. ~hee hee!~ I cheated as I watched the episodes with the boys by having the closed caption on. Well I didn't do it on purpose, but I couldn't figure out how to turn it off. It thought it helped me understand, but the boys understood quite a bit without being able to read the captions, so maybe I need to get it turned off!

Speekee TV is available as DVD's or online episodes. The online access is available for $7.50 per month. This adds up to $90 per year for unlimited viewing of the episodes for the entire family. They also offer a two week free trial of the online episodes.

Of course other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed this product. Click here to see what they thought about Speekee.
**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shark vs. Train

We read one book each night before bed. In fact, we usually read the same book each night for weeks at time. Kirk liked reading the same book every night when he was little (4000 or so readings of Dr. Suess's ABC book - we have it memorized!). Maggie chose a different book every single night once she was old enough to choose. FRitW and MT fall right in between: they choose one book and read it over and over for a few weeks then move on to a new book for a few weeks. This is particularly interesting to me because they take turns each night picking the book.

Currently we are reading Shark vs. Train. We read it each night with FRitW acting out the part of Shark and MT playing Train. MT received this book for his birthday complete with a crocheted Shark and Train, handmade by Aunt Debbie.

FRitW has the story completely memorized, so although I read the main part of the story, he, and his stuffed shark, act out and recite every sentence that the shark utters throughout the story. MT, and his stuffed train, participate some, but usually he is too enthralled with the story to remember to recite Train's lines (which is ok, because FRitW often does his lines too!)

Shark is jumping into the pool in this photo.

This book is fun for our whole family. For several nights, Dad and I have noticed that Kirk and Maggie are present or slip in as we read. The story is quite funny, but I really think they are more entertained by the little boys. We read every single part of this book, including the back cover.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you have little boys. The title is Shark vs. Train and it is written and illustrated by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld. You might want to have a toy train and shark nearby!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TOS Review: Maestro Classics Peter and the Wolf


I received a copy of Maestro Classics' Peter and the Wolf to review with my family. Peter in the Wolf by composer Sergei Prokofiev was written specifically to introduce children to the instruments in the orchestra. It is a fascinating piece and I was thrilled to have such a fun way to present it to my children.

Maestro Classics has created a series of CD's called "Stories in Music" to encourage children and their parents to listen to and learn more about classical music. Peter and the Wolf, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Casey at the Bat and others are included in this series.


I received an audio CD and a booklet filled with games, puzzles, and interesting information about Peter and the Wolf and Russian music and instrument. The CD features Peter and the Wolf performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The performance is definitely a central part of the CD, but all of the additional information and experiences included are what makes this an excellent purchase.

Maestro Classics has created an entire learning unit in this product. There is a short biography of composer Sergei Prokofiev, an introduction to the instruments and the character they represent, the symphony orchestra presentation with and without narration and even a performance by a Russian trio using traditional Russian instruments.

While listening to the CD, I showed the kids pictures of the instruments as they were introduced and we identified which represented Peter, the duck, the wolf, the hunters, etc. MT particularly enjoyed finding the correct instrument picture as each character 'appeared' in the music. The older kids enjoyed listening as well - they just weren't as cute as the little guys dancing around and shooting their 'guns' when the kettle drums played.


We listened to our CD multiple times, in fact it is playing as I write this. I love the music and the story it tells. I highly recommend Peter and the Wolf or the other Maestro Classics productions for any family that wants to expose their children to classical music. The CD's are available for $16.98 (and right now there is a sale - 3 for $45!) from the Maestro Classics website.

Titles available are:

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (our next purchase!)

Casey at the Bat

The Tortoise and the Hare

The Story of Swan Lake

Juanita the Spanish Lobster (available in Spanish or English)

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Peter and the Wolf

Of course, I am not the only TOS Homeschool Crew member to have reviewed Peter and the Wolf. Click here to read the reviews from other Crew members.


**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Growing Bacteria, Part Three

We watched our petri dishes for 8 days. The first signs of growth came on day 2. The worst bacteria growth was on the TV remote and computer keyboard - ewww! Of course those things are touched by hands a lot and have so many little nooks and crannies!

Maggie's mouth had a little more bacteria than Fireflame's - That or her cooperation in swabbing gave us a better sample than his not so cooperative attitude! ~grin~

We opened each petri dish and used a swab to transfer some of the culture to a microscope slide. Then we took turns looking at bacteria.

Finally, I added bleach to each dish, sealed it shut and disposed of our bacteria experiments. But we have more petri dishes and liquid agar - so maybe, just maybe there will be another bacteria post in the future!


Disposable dishes were recommended for safety. Being able to kill and dispose of the bacteria as opposed to needing to sterilize glass dishes made this much safer with small children in the home.

Do NOT buy plastic microscope slides. The ones I have (from our school supply store) were so thin that they did not work with our microscope slide holder. I will definitely order glass slides from before making any more slides.


Monday, January 17, 2011

TOS Homeschool Crew Blog Walk - January 17-21, 2011

Hmmm? You thought this was going to be another exercise post? Nope, this isn't a fast, pump those arms, lift those knees kind of walk, it's just a slow stroll. In fact, you can take all week for this Blog Walk.  ~Really~

I plan to visit each of these blogs this week. These are all blogs for fellow Crewmates and this is a chance for you (and me) to get to know them a little better. So get those running shoes off, find a comfy spot and take time for a little meet and greet.

I know that if it were me, I'd love for you to leave me a comment or follow my blog, so, please, take the time to read their posts, leave each one a little 'hello!' and if you find one that interests you - follow that blog!

Click on the links below:

1. Learning Legacy

2. The Blessings Pour Out

3. Taylor's Mark Orthodox Academy

4. A Day in the Life

5. Pecan Prairie

6. Musing Grace

7. Milk and Honey Mommy

8. Adventures in Unsell Land!

9. Modest Mama

10. Orange Marmalade Mama

Next week, we'll visit ten more!